Texas Bill: Kids Sext, Parents Have to Go to Sext Ed
Texas State Senator Kirk Watson introduced a bill today that would give a judge the option of punishing the parents of kids who “sext” by sending the parents to an education class. The bill would also reduce the penalties for minors who engage in such activity to avoid burnishing them for life with a child pornography charge for a juvenile mistake.
You can read about the bill here. I tried to find the actual bill but could not find it on the Legislature’s website or on Kirk Watson’s site which has this release. I will update the blog when I locate the actual text of the bill. Reports suggest Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot supports the bill. You can read the anti-government ZDNet story on the bill here.
The bill would reduce sexting to a Class C misdemeanor rather than leaving the possibility that a recipient would be charged with possession of child pornography which involves serious jail time and being listed as a sex offender. The judge could also send the parent to a class explaining the dangers of sexting. The bill defines sexting as the use of an e-mail or a texting service to transmit an explicit photograph of themselves or of another teen. I am curious to see how email and ”texting service” are defined? Not because I am looking for ways around the bill, but just curious how broad it is defined because who knows what communication tools will be available this time next time year.
Sexting can create problems and luckily I have a few years before that even enters the realm of possibility for my kids. I agree there needs to be some flexibility that would prevent making kids who make stupid mistakes put their names on a registered sex offender list for lengthy periods of time. My alternative would be to have a cell offender list and if the kids get caught no cell phone provider would be allowed to give them a phone for six months. That would teach them and would probably be worse than jail for most teens.
2/10/2011 Update: Here is the link to the full text of the bill.